1971 Honda Z600

Fort Worth, TX 76137
United States

1971 Honda
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Category  Classic Cars

If you've been paying attention to the collector car market, then you know that Japanese imports are gaining ground as hot collectables. We can't promise that this 1971 Honda Z600 will become a hot property overnight, but history shows us that ground-breaking cars from major manufacturers that transform markets are often worthy of their place in history and in collectors' garages. Perhaps this Honda Z is such a car. You may not know it, but you're looking at a revolutionary piece of machinery .....
that has helped catapult millions of people into the modern world. Japanese leaders saw a glaring need for their people after WWII: personal transportation. However, the goal was to serve an emerging market " one that could not afford a full-size car, but also didn't want a motorcycle to serve as their main family conveyance. In came the Kei car revolution, with Honda leading the way with cars like this Z600. Roomy enough for a small family, yet sporty enough to actually enjoy out on the road, these ambitious little cars started a 'hot-hatch lite' revolution and brought the developed world into the future, one cute 'pet' car at a time. But more than that, they also left an indelible impression in the Western world as plenty of these Kei cars grew in popularity in the United States and changed what the American public wanted in their cars. Perhaps you remember these zipping around city streets in the early '70s, or maybe you had one, as the Z-cars were the first truly mainstream Japanese vehicles to appeal to the American public's fickle tastes, and that was likely due to Honda's wonderful combination of quality, fun-to-drive-quotient, and economy. Most of them were orange or bright red like this little Z-car, so they were high-visibility, which I suspect was intentional, and despite the fact that everyone was deriding these as inferior to Detroit iron, one drive will convince you otherwise. Just the fact that the gaps are still tight, the average driver-grade paint is shiny, and all the unusual little bits and pieces are still intact speaks highly of the quality and care this car has received over the past 50 years. Blacked-out bumpers, a matching jaunty roof spoiler, and those familiar unique taillights out back make this a car that's going to trigger memories for everyone who sees it. The interior is remarkably tidy and surprisingly spacious for such a small car. The upgraded modern Si bucket seats emphasize Honda's driver-first mentality, and they're incredibly sporty yet all-day comfortable with their durable cloth-and-vinyl seat covers that will wear like iron. Controls are simple and effective, with a big, fat racing steering wheel to manage the unassisted steering, and that unique 4-speed manual shifter jutting out from under the center of the dash " a design that Honda would reintroduce in their sporty Civics many decades later. The original Nippon Seiki gauges are big, round dials that are easy to read and if you've ever driven a Honda, you'll quickly recognize the font, as they looked like this for decades. Amazingly enough the AM radio survived all of these years, although it will need to be supplemented if you want working tunes in the cabin, although we hope the next owner will tuck any new head unit away in the glove compartment and the leave the stock dash completely uncut and original like it is today. Speaking of which, the dash pad is still in great shape, as are the door panels at the flanks, the white headliner above, and plush black carpets below, and the back seat - while not exactly spacious " is more than reasonable for a microcar. There's even decent cargo room behind the back seat, and fortunately, the seat folds down and expands it to a significant degree for hauling just about anything. Honda's 598cc Inline-2 (hence the Z600 namesake) isn't going to win any drag races, but it feels energetic and durable going about its business. This was, after all, an economy car, but there's no rule that says economy cars need to also be boring. The motor is air-cooled and still uses a carburetor, but the technologically advanced design works very well in the lightweight car (even the engine is all-alloy) and makes the car feel perky around town. The engine bay is highly original and very clean, and it appears to be entirely complete from top to bottom and has not been modified in any major way. Note how the engine is canted forward a bit to facilitate packaging, and mechanics back-in-the-day loved working on these cars because they could lift the motor with one hand, while working on it with the other. It's as reliable as you'd expect from a Honda, and surprisingly lively, with a relatively low original horsepower output (36-45HP) that could achieve 9000RPM and propel to a top speed of 81MPH when new. The 4-speed has light clutch action and the coil-sprung independent front suspension is surprisingly agile, so you can drive this car with gusto. Alloy wheels are wrapped around Falken tires that are modestly-sized 165/70/10s, but with so little car to move around, they don't need to be big and that means they're affordable, too. A neat, well-preserved piece of Japanese motoring history, I think we'll see more of these in the coming years. Get ahead of the curve and call today!

Fort Worth TX 76137
United States
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